SEO Best Practices for your WordPress Website
WordPress is free, open-source and SEO-friendly. That’s why it is the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS). However, just because the system is SEO-friendly it doesn’t mean that it will set up your website on this front. There are a still several things you need to do to improve the Search Engine ranking of your WordPress website.
Implement the following to improve SEO and streamline your content optimisation:
Make use of a dynamic sitemap
Compared to a static sitemap, which needs to be updated manually, a dynamic sitemap automatically updates with every new page added. This means it is more user-friendly for web masters and search-engines alike. Once requested, a dynamic sitemap is delivered faster than a static one.
Use a SEO plugin
An SEO plugin like Yoast SEO picks up SEO issues on your website and constantly checks that your site is following the best on-page SEO practices. This is a great tool especially if you are adding new content regularly and don’t always have time to create individual meta and title tags for each page. A plugin will create default meta and title tags, guaranteeing that each page will be optimised.
Optimise images automatically
Search Engines care how long your pages take to load. The size and volume of the images on your website can affect loading speeds. Improve your ranking by reducing the size of your images. You can streamline this tedious task by making use of a plugin that does it automatically.
Another thing Search Engines care a lot about, is how secure your website is. If they find any malware on your website, you will automatically be penalised. An unsecure website is not only bad for rankings but can also cause damage to your reputation. It is in the best interests of your business to ensure that you have adequate security for your website.
Improve security by:
- Deactivating comments
- Disabling Xmlrpc.php
- Installing an SSL Certificate
- Creating two-step verification passwords for every user and changing this regularly
- Limiting login attempts by blocking IP addresses after several unsuccessful login attempts.
- Automatically updating plugins (Domains.co.za’s WordPress Hosting includes this)
- Performing daily backups of your website (Domains.co.za’s WordPress Hosting includes this)
Choose the best in WordPress Hosting
Website hosting affects your Search Engine rankings threefold, as poor hosting translates into a slow website, poor uptime, and insufficient network security. Choose your hosting provider with the utmost care.
At Domains.co.za we offer tailored WordPress Hosting. This solution is the ultimate in WordPress hosting and has been adjusted in such a way as to offer the fastest, most secure and reliable WordPress Hosting in South Africa.
Check your visibility
There is an option to “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” under Settings >> Reading. Check that this box is unchecked. Normally, the box gets ticked to allow a website designer and developer time to finalise the website before Search Engines start to crawl it. It is such a small, almost obvious thing, but it has huge implications if forgotten about.
Create SEO-friendly permalinks
A permalink is a hyperlink to a specific page. Create permalinks that explain what each page, or article, on your website is about. This will assist Search Engines to index, categorise, and rank each page better.
Keywords are one of the top things people associate with SEO. Use a keyword tool, or platform, to assist you with researching and finding the best keywords for your website. Be aware of keyword cannibalization; i.e. when similar pages compete. Identify and assign a main keyword to each page. Use a tool like Semrush to see if keyword cannibalization is taking place on your site.
Create incredible content
Even if you have the best SEO plugins installed and your site is following all on-site SEO tactics to a ‘T’, the SEO side of your website will not be complete due to the ongoing nature of SEO. You must continuously create good on- and off-site content to encourage search engines to crawl your site regularly.